Pumpkin, Mushroom & Spinach Risotto

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Now that it’s winter I’ve been enjoying making some warm and comforting creamy risottos. This risotto is baked which saves a lot of labour time, particularly with brown rice, which can take around 50 minutes of stirring to cook on using the stove top method!

If you’re in the Southern hemisphere right now, experiencing the middle of winter (less so if you’re lucky enough to be somewhere close to the equator!), now is the perfect time to load up on mushrooms. Mushrooms contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fibre found to strengthen the immune system (amongst other benefits, such as lowering cholesterol). Studies have shown that mushrooms stimulate secretion of a type of antibody known as IgA, which can protect us from getting sick with colds or flus due to bacteria or viruses that enter the body.

 

Pumpkin, Mushroom & Spinach Risotto

Takes 50 minutes

Serves 4-6

  • 600g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into ~2x2cm cubes
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tbs dried sage (or fresh if you have it!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 leek stalk, chopped (green part included)
  • 2 tsp miso paste
  • 700g mixed mushrooms (e.g. swiss, button, portobello, shiitake), sliced
  • 2 cups short-grain brown rice
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 3 1/3 cups (1.33L) plant-based milk (almond milk works well in this recipe)
  • 2 + 2 cups (0.5+0.5L) low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 250g frozen (or fresh cooked) spinach
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Black pepper
  • Garnish: Fresh parsley leaves, nutritional yeast, chopped walnuts (optional)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Spread the pumpkin evenly onto a tray lined with baking paper. Bake on the top rack (the risotto will go underneath) for 40 minutes or until cooked through.
  2. Add the herbs, leek and garlic to a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven over medium heat with a little splash of water. Cover with a lid and let sweat for 10 minutes.
  3. Add in the miso paste and mushrooms. Stir everything continuously for 3 minutes or until the mushrooms soften slightly. Transfer everything into a bowl and cover with a plate.
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar, plant-based milk and 2 cups vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and add in the rice, stirring to combine. Cover with a lid and place in the oven underneath the pumpkin to bake for around 1 hour or until the rice is just cooked (be careful not to over-cook it or it will go mushy).
  5. Meanwhile, when the pumpkin is done cooking quickly remove it from the oven to minimise any heat escaping and interrupting the rice from cooking. Leave the pumpkin in the tray ready to add it to the pot.
  6. Once the rice is cooked, remove pot from the oven. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of vegetable stock, pumpkin, spinach, nutritional yeast and some pepper to taste, as well as the leek, garlic, mushrooms and herbs. Serve topped with extra parsley and nutritional yeast, and some chopped walnuts (if using). This dish is best served immediately (it will start to turn mushy if it’s left for a while).

Tip: If you think you’ll have leftovers or want to cook more than one batch, reduce the rice cooking time by 5 minutes so that you end up with a chewy risotto, then when you’re ready to eat a batch, cook it for 5 minutes before serving so that the rice is al dente and ready to eat.

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